Information Paper
Moral Education in Schools


This paper briefs Members on the implementation of moral education in schools since the issue of the General Guidelines on Moral Education in Schools (the Guidelines) in 1981.


2.It has been Government's aim and policy to provide "whole-person education" to students and moral education is considered an important element in the education of the whole person. The aim of moral education is to cultivate in students the proper moral attitudes and social values.

3.The Guidelines issued by the Curriculum Development Council in 1981 emphasised the integration of moral education into the formal and informal school curricula. Since then, most elements of moral education have permeated through various subjects at different levels of the school curriculum such as Chinese Language, General Studies, Religious Education, Social Studies, Chinese History and Geography. In most schools, students' civic and environmental awareness are also cultivated through moral education.

Approaches adopted by schools

4.Schools usually set up committees to co-ordinate the planning and implementation of moral education programmes. In primary schools, the committees are usually headed by discipline teachers, with guidance/religious teachers as members. The committees set themes for moral education, devise implementation programmes and arrange extra-curricular activities such as visits and competitions. Most secondary schools also have moral/civic education co-ordinating committees comprising 3 to 7 teachers to perform similar functions as their counterparts in primary schools.

5.Except for some primary and secondary schools which offer Moral Education/Ethics as an independent subject, most schools have adopted a permeation approach to the teaching of moral education. Moral values are inculcated through teaching various subjects, talks in school assemblies, activities in class periods and extra-curricular activities. In the 1996/97 school year, some 40 primary schools offered Moral Education/Ethics while 80 and 60 secondary schools offered the subject at Secondary 1 to 3 and Secondary 4 to 7 respectively.

6.Schools run by religious organisations usually offer Religious Education as an independent subject, and draw up teaching materials for moral education in accordance with their religious curriculum.

Support measures for schools

7.Since the publication of the Guidelines, the Education Department (ED) has provided the following support measures to help schools promote moral education:

  1. Providing in-service teacher education programmes

    Seminars and workshops are organised on a regular basis to familiarise teachers with various means of promoting moral education. Exhibitions are organised every two years for schools to share experience and disseminate good work.

  2. Producing resource materials

    In the past few years, ED has issued a series of teaching and learning packages and resource materials to help teachers teach moral education and exchange experience.

  3. Setting up resource centres

    Two resource centres, one on Hong Kong Island and the other in Kowloon, were set up in 1982 and 1991 respectively to provide advisory services, teaching resource materials as well as venues for teachers to exchange experience and ideas.

  4. Visiting schools

    The promotion of moral education helps instil good citizenship in students. On a regular basis, the Civic Education Team of ED visits schools and provides advice on civic and moral education.

8.A list of ED's support measures, including resource material, seminars, workshops and exhibitions, are listed in Appendix I.

9.Apart from ED, in promoting civic education, the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education also covers moral education in schools. It has produced teaching packages and organised exhibitions relating to moral education. In addition, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) also produced resource materials on moral education for schools. A list of teaching packages and exhibitions produced/organised by the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education and the ICAC are shown in Appendix II.

Way forward

10.Moral education and civic education are complementary to one another. 'The Guidelines on Civic Education in Schools' issued by the Curriculum Development Council in 1996 recommends schools to follow a curriculum framework with honesty, kindness, self cultivation and principled morality as built-in core values. Based on this framework, a syllabus for civic education is being developed for Secondary 1 to 3. The draft syllabus will be ready for consultation later this month.

11.To help teachers access to reference materials kept in resource centres, ED will put the relevant catalogues on the Internet shortly. It will also liaise with teacher education institutions to strengthen training in the teaching of moral education. Publicity will be stepped up to help students and the community at large understand the importance of moral conduct. To enhance the importance of civic/moral education, ED is considering proposing to tertiary institutions to adjust their admission criteria to take account of not only students' academic performance but also their services to the community.

Education Department
September 1997

Appendix I

Support measures by the Education Department
to promote moral education in schools

(i) Seminars and workshops, themes include:

  • Social morality

  • Cultivation of primary school pupils' positive attitudes towards life

  • Education in human values

  • School-based curriculum projects on moral education

  • Use of the "Anti-triad" Teaching Package

  • Use of the "Anti-shoptheft" Teaching Package

  • Promotion of human rights education in secondary schools

  • Co-ordination and implementation of civic education

  • Moral development for senior secondary pupils

(ii) Exhibitions on the following themes:

  • Moral character of a good citizen

  • Exhibition of moral education teaching materials

  • Being and becoming

  • Sharing and caring

  • Respecting the elderly

  • Exhibition of the winning projects of the inter-school competition on the design of civic education programmes (secondary)

  • Exhibition of the winning projects of the inter-school competition on the design of civic education programmes (primary)

(iii) Moral education reference materials include:

  • Moral Education Reference Materials, Issue Nos. 1-12

  • Teaching package on "Proper Attitudes and Good Behaviour in Public Place"

  • Teaching package on "In Search of Values"

  • Teaching package on "Training of Rational Thinking Skills: Theories and Practice"

  • Teaching package on "Positive Attitude Towards Life"

  • "Respecting the Elderly" curriculum resource package

  • Curriculum package on "Be a Happy Person"

  • Curriculum package on "Personal and Social Education"

  • Curriculum package on "sex and the Mass Media"

  • Curriculum package on "Towards a Fruitful Life"

Appendix II

Teaching packages and exhibitions by
the Committee on the Promotion
of Civic Education and
the Independent Commission Against Corruption
to help promote moral education in schools

(i) Teaching packages published and exhibitions organised by the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education include:

  • Human Rights Education Teaching Package for Pre-school Children

  • Human Rights Education Teaching Package for Children

  • Civic Education Package for Youth

  • Exhibition on "Equal Opportunity"

  • Exhibition on "Civic Rights & Responsibilities"

(ii) Teaching Packages produced by the Independent Commission Against Corruption include:

  • A Thought a Day

  • Between You and Me

  • Two Plus You

  • Food For Thought (1) (2)

  • Under One Motto

  • Money isn"t Everything

  • Wealth and Living

  • The Way Ahead

  • Let's Talk Justice